Stay calm and vote early – Here’s how  (Part 4)

by Barbara Thomson
Posted 10/22/20

Congratulations! You’re almost done! You registered to vote and received your paper ballot. It came in the mail or you picked it up at a satellite office. You’ve filled it out with a …

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Stay calm and vote early – Here’s how  (Part 4)


Congratulations! You’re almost done! You registered to vote and received your paper ballot. It came in the mail or you picked it up at a satellite office. You’ve filled it out with a black or blue pen for all the Democrats and voted “yes” for all the ballot questions. You carefully folded the ballot and put it in the secrecy envelope. You took the secrecy envelope and put it in the outside envelope addressed to the Elections Board. You signed the outside envelope and sealed it. Phew! Well done!

Now, you have two choices: drop it in the mail or take it to the Board of Elections satellite office. Drop-off is your last step and it’s the easiest. In Northwest Philadelphia, your nearest satellite office is either A.B. Day School at 6324 Crittenden Street in Mt. Airy or Roxborough High School at 6498 Ridge Avenue. Or you can use any satellite office in Philadelphia County. (Note: Montgomery County residents must vote in Montgomery County.) We’ve tried out A.B. Day and Roxborough and they were both great. They are fast, easy, and pleasant. We also know that the mail is easy and reliable.

After drop-off, grab a snack and wait to hear when your ballot is received by the Elections Board. You can track your ballot at:

We’ve been sharing our experiences with family and friends as we wait. From what we’ve heard, ballots have been taking anywhere from 1 to 7 days to be recorded as received whether it be by mail or satellite office. Those who dropped them off on the first day at Roxborough waited about 7 days for confirmation. Those who dropped them off more recently heard their ballots were received the next day. Someone who mailed-in his ballot learned that it was received within 4 days of putting it in a mailbox.

Once received, it is up to the Elections Board to count your votes on Election Day. They will be starting at 7 a.m. going around the clock until they are done. They have been planning this for months and the people and machines are ready to rock and roll. The machines will do most of the work – cut open the envelopes, scan all the information and count your votes. We understand that as many as 16,000 ballots per hour can be counted and we understand that tallies will be made during the day. This differs from the in-person polling machines that are tallied after the polls close at 8 p.m.

If you haven’t requested your mail-in ballot, you have until October 27 – although we don’t recommend waiting. To request a Mail-In Ballot go to: or go to any satellite office where you can pick it up and vote all in one trip. And if you requested your ballot, but it has not arrived, the satellite office will give you one, as well as answer all your voting questions on the spot. Regardless, get your ballot and return it asap so that it’s ready and waiting to be counted bright and early on November 3rd.  

For those who’d like to vote in-person on November 3, keep in mind that some of the polling places in the 9th Ward have changed and there may be long lines. While well-trained, many of the clerks are new because of the pandemic. Some of the polling places are supporting more divisions than in the past. Most of the polling places are the same from previous years, such as the Friends Meeting House or St. Martins, but some have moved. Before you leave your house to vote, go to:

Once again, the 9th Ward recommends voting early – it’s safe and efficient. Please, let us know if you have any questions at or on Facebook at

Thanks for voting and let me know your post-voting snack of choice. Mine was pizza.

Barbara Thomson is a 9th Ward Democratic Committeeperson.


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